State aims to recoup €22m from insurance scheme

Scheme, which covers illness or invalidity payouts already made, raised €4m in 2014

Minister of State for Social Protection Kevin Humphreys: said targeting health costs was a possible next step to recoup State expenses from insurance companies

Minister of State for Social Protection Kevin Humphreys: said targeting health costs was a possible next step to recoup State expenses from insurance companies

 

The Government is hoping to recoup more than €20 million next year from insurance companies for welfare payments paid to people who go on to get substantial awards in personal injury and other cases.

New measures in effect since the summer mean that if a person injured in an accident in the workplace or elsewhere wins a personal injury claim, the insurance company will have to refund the Department of Social Protection for any illness or invalidity payments already made.

For example, an injured person who claims State benefits may then go on to make a claim against an employer or someone else. In the case of successful actions by the claimants, the insurance company will have to reimburse the Department of Social Protection for the money it has already paid for the same accident. The injured person does not have any benefits taken back. However, the scheme does not apply to related healthcare costs.

The Recovery of Benefits and Assistance Scheme has raised €4 million since coming into effect on August 1st, 2014. Minister of State for Social Protection Kevin Humphreys said the projection for a full year in 2015 was €22 million. Mr Humphreys said targeting health costs was a possible next step to recoup State expenses from insurance companies.

“In the UK, the National Health Service [NHS] injury costs recovery scheme aims to recover the cost of NHS treatment where personal injury compensation is payable,” Mr Humphreys said. “If we were to introduce that in Ireland, it would save millions in the health service. Those are the sort of smart reforms we need.”

The benefits and assistance payments that are recoverable are limited to six specified illness payments: illness benefit, partial capacity benefit, injury benefit, incapacity supplement, invalidity pension and disability allowance.

Ex-gratia payments, such as those paid to Magdalene Laundries survivors, are not included in the scheme, nor are a range of compensation payments made by tribunals, redress boards or other compensation schemes.